World Athletics has released figures that show 87 percent of sexist and racist abuse aimed at female athletes happens on social media during the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The governing body launched an awareness campaign for its female athletes, partners and sponsors to prevent abuse being aimed at them during the Olympics, which is already being linked to sexist violence and violence against women.
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The research was taken as evidence of how women’s sporting issues were being mishandled by organisations such as World Athletics.
“I am concerned that there are too many factors that cause social media to escalate into this level of abuse,” said world 10,000 metres champion Almaz Ayana. “Now more than ever I hope we can break this cycle and I hope we can prevent this from happening to other female athletes, women in general and men and women.”
A letter from Andy Hunt, the chief executive of UK Sport, to World Athletics, released on Friday, revealed a report from Proctor & Gamble, makers of Ariel and Head and Nice hair products, that showed one in four women who use Facebook expressed concerns that the bullying and violence they faced were worse online than in real life.
Proctor & Gamble has teamed up with World Athletics and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation in an anti-abuse programme called the Respect Coalition, which is distributing thousands of posters which encourage fans to desensitise themselves to abusive posts.